Afghan President Ashraf Ghani dismisses NDS provincial chief over fall of Kunduz

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday dismissed national security agency NDS officials who he said had neglected their duty to defend the northern city of Kunduz, which Taliban militants briefly captured in September. The Taliban's seizure of the city was a major setback for the government, and prompted Washington to prolong the 14-year-old U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan. Government forces wrested back control of the city after days of fighting in which a U.S. air strike destroyed a hospital run by the Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) aid group, killing 30 people. "There was a lack of unified command, and even though there were many Afghan troops in Kunduz, we failed," Ghani said in a speech in Kunduz, an important trade gateway to Central Asia. Ghani said the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the intelligence agency, had not been successful. The agency's provincial chief was among those dismissed, Ghani's office said. "I have issued an order to dismiss all NDS personnel who neglected their duties," he said to cheers from the crowd. He did not specify how many officials would be removed, but said some would be prosecuted under the military code and some dismissed. Reference: Reuters